Nightmare

Last night, I had a dream, if you would call it that. It was the type of lucid dream where you are aware of it and can easily wake up but rather choose not to, for it is a great opportunity to experience the unreality with a somewhat conscious mind. And I was indeed enjoying my adventures of the absurd, something that involved yours truly travelling with a team of celeb-detectives-in-training, who apparently solve crimes by learning to ride bicycles(?) (maybe the fact that I never actually learned to do so in real life might have pegged it as an achievment worthy and akin to the glory of solving crimes), and some other such fantastical acts of valor which I regretably cannot recount on account of them slipping by my short term memory. Though I do remember some chapters of the dream very vividly, and which I suspect shall remain burned on my cerebral cortex for a long time to come. There was a part of the dream, which I cannot place whether to be the beginning or the middle of it, but most certainly wasn’t the end, where my dream team and I end up moving to a small house, with two rooms. One of the rooms we live in, perhaps undercover as students, the other room we decide to store our luggage in. It is this other room, which when I enter the quality of the dream changes drastically. The first time I enter the room with my companions, and an air of nostalgia and foreboding hits me, not just the dream me, but also the me that’s conscious that it’s a dream. The room is musty and filled with old furniture and stuff, arranged in a way such that it makes the room appear like a maze, or a library with ceiling high shelves stacked with old clothes and toys, with narrow lanes where you can get lost at any turn. At first look, dream me and my companions realise no one wants to be in the room, and so without talking about it which is why we decide to use it as our storeroom for the luggage and leave the room. As soon as we are out, the dream again regains it’s lucid fluidity and frivolous temperament. But the room is yet to be forgotten, as the dream proceeds further, once again I find myself in the room, alone this time, my memory suggesting that I came in to get a change of clothes from the luggage I had placed there previously. My senses are heightened, my breathing shallow, and I very nearly lose the awareness that it’s still a dream, transpiring only in my mind. I ruffle through my clothes, with an air of casual nonchalance that I do not feel within. I want to be out, as fast as I can, and yet I wish to remain unalarmed, lest I alarm ‘something’ else in my panic. And then I see ‘it’, something scuttling across the floor, between the legs of the maze like furniture, slipping in and out of vision. Hoping against hope that it’s a mouse, I forget completely that it’s still a dream, a figment of my imagination. The clothes drop from my hand, and I realise I had been frozen in my posture for a long time, immediately, the scuttling also stops, as if suddenly aware of my presence. Has to be a rodent, right? I gather courage to take a peek at the thing huddled against the wall, as it comes to vision,I feel a chill down my spine first, and then a slight relief that perhaps it was just my foolish imagination, for what I see are a pair of shoes, doll’s shoes, or could be that of a small child, not really that surprising to see such a thing in an old and musty storeroom. Weirdly though, it also has ankle high stockings standing stiff as if around a pair of feet, which is why perhaps my initial analogy of a dolls feet was what first sprung to my mind. Though my senses urge to allay my fright, I find myself unable to move, still gripped in a “flight or freeze” conundrum. And for certain reasons I sense the same struggle coming from the inanimate pair of footwear. Or so I thought, as if suddenly choosing flight over freeze, I witness to my utter terror the pair of shoes (feet?) scuttling forward into the shadows, as if in fright of me. As I try to scream, I find my throat without a voice, and the feet are again scuttling all around the dimly lit room, almost as much panicked as me. I don’t remember how and when I had exited the room, I find myself again with my team on a mythical quest, and the awareness has returned that it’s a dream. For a while I have forgotten again all about the room, and indulge merrily in the dream amalgamation of all the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Famous Five stories. But again, for the third time in a single night, I find myself in the room, this time though not alone, but with my dream friends, who’s names and faces I am yet to determine despite all our adventures together. As we enter the room, my eyes fall on the pair of shoes with stockings resting atop my bag, and memory returns of our previous encounter. This time, hoping against hope, that my memory is wrong, or that whatever entity possesses those accursed footwear, should choose to feign inanimacy as it tried previously, albeit unsuccessfully, with me. My prayers are seemingly answered, perhaps because of the presence of the others in the room, as I gingerly approach my bag, it remains still, and then falls off the bag, causing me a mild startle. Emboldened, I reach into my bag to take whatever it is I had needed in the first place, keeping an eye on the shoes. But before I can convince myself that my encounter with an animate dolls feet was merely fiction, I see them once again darting across the floor, through the shadows beyond everyone’s perception, save mine. The terror I experience is slightly lesser than earlier, for I have sensed that perhaps this entity is as much skittish of living beings as terriffied the latter could be of the former. I do not wish to alert my companions to it’s presence or existence, who knows how it would behave once it realised its existence was no longer a secret? Yet, I need to keep it away from me and everyone. Trusting my instinct that this time my voice won’t fail and that it would drive the thing back into the shadows long enough for me and my friends to exit the room, I gulp in breaths to release a scream from my throat. But what comes out is an eerie howl, barely audible, something between the moon baying of a wolf and the hooting of an owl. Which is whenI sense the feet stop scuttling, it slows down, it’s mannerism now more defined and sure, no longer skittish or panicked. Has it realised that I am scared of it? For no longer is it running from me, instead I see it taking slow and cautious steps, towards me, slowly and slowly picking up pace until it makes a straight dash right at me. The room is again dim, and my companions are nowhere. I let loose another bloodcurling shriek, which is again muffled into that eerie howl. I wake up, and can still hear the howl, I realise that I am howling in my bed, thrashing restlessly to wake up. I take in deep breaths to calm my furiously beating heart. It’s still dark, I look at the watch, it’s only 3 am. I dare not sleep again, lest I end up in the same dream, in the same room. I decide to stay awake until the rays of the sun touches the room. My body freezes, as I hear the scuttling sound again, I relax when I realise it’s just the sound of the calendar striking the wall as it sways in the air currents of the fan. From my position in the bed, I have a clear view of my room, dimly lit by half a moon. My blood chills as I see, the pair of child’s shoes, with stiff stockings, lying beside my own pair of Hawaiis. Pinching myself does not wake me up, for it’s no longer just a dream.

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Bisexuality: Through the eyes of a Gay man

 Let’s talk about bisexuality today, from the point of view of a gay man.

I had always thought of bisexuals as a ‘privileged’ class, I mean, you get to fool around with ‘both’ genders and also have the ‘choice’ to marry and have kids and live a ‘normal’ life? It just seemed horribly unfair to me.

Here was I, a closeted gay man, deep in denial, and desperate to change my orientation, scared of upsetting my parents, scared of never being able to have a family, scared of being stuck in a loveless marriage and being responsible for ruining another life. If I would be able to feel even the slightest attraction to a girl, I would readily marry and settle with her and count myself lucky. So, if bisexuals have that option available why the hell would they not avail it?

I read so many stories of gay men marrying for the sake of their parents or society and sticking to it just to save face that I naturally assumed that all bisexual people must be doing it too. It seemed the most natural choice in the whole world. I never thought of bisexuals as discriminated against, but in fact was extremely envious of their ‘privileges’.

In fact, I had initially come out as a ‘bisexual’ to my best friend. Only because it felt like it would still keep my options open. That the fact I could feel even a tiny bit of attraction to women would somehow protect my ‘manliness’ and that it might save me from losing all respect from my friend. That fear was entirely unfounded though.

The first time it ever occurred to me that bisexuals too could be discriminated was quite a long time after I had come out to my sister. We were on the topic of sexuality, and she outright claimed that she hated bisexuals as they were extremely ‘greedy’ and ‘selfish’. This had shocked me completely, because my sister, who was straight, happened to be a very liberal and non-judgmental person. When I asked her why? Her response actually made me think a lot on the concept of ‘acceptance’ and ‘choice’.

She thought that being gay was ‘OK’, because I did not have any ‘choice’, because I ‘could not’ marry or have a family. For her, me being ‘allowed’ to live with a boy as my life-partner was like giving a child the consolation prize for losing the race of ‘sexuality’. So to her, the child who had won the fucking trophy (read: able to get happily married) dabbling with people of the same gender appeared ‘greedy’ and ‘selfish’. And that’s when I realized that I too had been thinking on the same lines for so long.

Do you see what the problem is with the way we perceive bisexuality??

It is: The Illusion Of Choice

As a gay man, the hardest part was realizing and accepting the fact that my sexual and romantic feelings were ‘different’ and ‘unconventional’. Even as the world shouted it at my face. Every movie, story, cartoon, every text book of biology screamed at my face that I am a ‘freak’, that I am not growing ‘normally’, that I am supposed to feel things differently.

For me, it was clearly marked in bold that I am different and yet it took years of struggle to accept that my sexuality was not an ‘abnormality’.

But think how a person would feel growing up bisexual!

They would identify with all the mushy Bollywood love stories,they would fap to straight porn, and they would have crushes on the opposite gender. Even if they were to feel the occasional attraction or crush on another guy, it would take them some time to realise that it’s not ‘normal’ or ‘common’ to be attracted to both genders. And when they did, they too would be burdened by the same shame and desperation that a gay guy would be in their situation. EXCEPT, this time they would also be blessed/burdened by ‘The illusion of choice’.

The illusion of choice is that we believe bisexual people can ‘choose’ to settle with the opposite sex and hence lead a normal life. This is where all the ‘biphobia’ stems from. But they are not able to control who they are able to fall in love with or attracted to, any more than us. Just because we believe they have the choice does not make it easier for them to ‘choose’.


Yes, for sure a lot of bisexuals choose to settle down with a member of the opposite sex and yes it is a selfish decision, but not all of them are marriages full of love and happiness, many of them are compromises similar to what the gay men who chose to marry have made. Just being able to have sex does not make any marriage successful and happy

And the reason that there are more bisexual men who choose to settle and marry is that they too believe that they ‘can choose’. Because they won’t be given the benefit of doubt by the society. They can’t explain why they should be allowed to settle with someone of the same gender just because they are in love. Because ‘acceptance’ in our society is still doled out as ‘pity’ for those who believe don’t have any ‘choice’. And if you happen to have a ‘choice’ then you are just throwing away your life and deliberately ‘hurting’ your society and your parents by ‘choosing’ differently.

Given the conditions and environment are same for a gay and a bisexual person, I believe it would be much harder for a bisexual person to accept their own sexuality and even harder to ‘come out’. For a gay person, their lack of ‘choice’ would be quite evident to them from their experiences, while it would be much more confusing for a bisexual person and much harder to explain why they would ever even ‘choose ‘to be deliberately different.

A bisexual person deserves just as much as the benefit of doubt as every other person. To outright judge the entire personality of a person based on their sexual orientation is just plain discriminatory and the last thing that a gay person should do, especially.

As long as ‘acceptance’ will be subject to the lack of ‘choice’, what we will always be getting is ‘pity’ and ‘sympathy’ instead of true acceptance.

Morality: God gifted or an evolutionary tool?

Theists claim that morality comes from God alone. And that without Gods morals, there is nothing stopping us from stooping to absolute decadence and chaos. It is kind of sad that one has to explain that being ‘moral’ out of fear of a God is a lot more scary thought, than that of an individual choosing to be ‘moral’ of their own volition, without needing to be threatened with dire consequences.

But what does ‘morality’ mean? Is morality entirely subjective? Or is their some underlying objective cause that shapes our sense of morality.

Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species

As far as I could think, it appears ‘morality’, or our perception of what is ‘ethical’ or not is simply an extension of our survival instinct. Primitive aspects of morality can be seen practiced by moderate to highly intelligent animals also. Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species. So perhaps the objective cause shaping our perception of morality is – whatever fulfills chances of optimal survival and helps achieve a higher standard of living.

Morality is an extension of our survival instinct

There appears to be a directly proportionate relation of morality with intelligence. And our perception of morality must have evolved like the other aspects of our civilization, language, architecture etc. The nuance and complexity of this ‘morality’ varying from region to region, culture to culture, and community to community.

While subjective morality varies from individual to individual, depending on the majoritarian view, the concept of a cultural morality must have evolved. The basic moral sense of an individual is influenced by their immediate needs, authority and position of influence they hold. One considered that immoral, which they didn’t want to be done to them. So killing, stealing had to be the first immoral acts. But as said, the moral sense was influenced by the power of authority, there were probably sections of society they were okay with keeping out-of-bounds of the moral code, people whom they didn’t consider equal. (This is also reflected in the tenets of most early religions). These moral or ethical codes was written into law and the  sense of morality imposed by higher authority on the entire community. That is how the system of law and order probably came to be.

In today’s modern-day and age, those primitive notions of morality, as recorded in religious books and backdated constitutions are now obsolete. And sticking to them is regressive. Our sense of morality has to evolve like other aspects to continue serving the prime objective – optimal survival and higher standard of living. We have come quite far in bringing the marginalized sections of the society into the folds of a commonly beneficial sense of morality. Though we haven’t achieved the prime objective yet.

My personal subjective moral code is that all people should be free to do whatever they choose as long as it isn’t violating the personal liberty or fundamental right of any other human.

P.S: I have used the word ‘morality’ very loosely and interchangeably with ‘ethics’ and ’empathy’. The above is simply my personal opinion and I don’t claim them as facts. Please give your own opinions and perception of what morality is and it’s use if any in our society.

Cursed

“VROOOM….VROOOM…..VROOOOOOM…”

5 year old Piyali ran through the house, running her new truck over every wall, table, door and surface she could reach.

“Maaa…..when is bhaiyya coming home? Why isn’t he home yet?”

She ran after her mother, pestering her for answers as she continued playing.

“He will be home when he will be home. But he won’t love you if keep being so noisy and annoying.”

Piyali let out a peal of laughter. “Bhaiyya will never not love me. He loves it when I annoy you.”

She ran the truck over her mother’s behind and leaped out of reach before she could be caught. Laughing maniacally towards the door.

Deepali sighed in resignation. Her husband had been out of state for a fortnight on an official tour. One more day for him to come home. It was difficult for her to cope without him. But thankfully her elder son Deepak was a self sufficient and responsible man of the house. Except for the fact that he spoiled his sister too much.

“Maa…bhaiyya is home”

Deepali rushed with a glass of water to the door and froze. Something seemed off. Deepak stood there, silently, expressionless. He stepped inside, as if in a daze.

“Wha…” She took a gulp to wet her dry throat “what happened Deepak? Are you ill?”

“Uhh…I feel sick” he mumbled as he stumbled towards his room. Avoiding looking her in the eye.

“Bhaiyyaaa….you promised to play with me..” Piyali whined as she clung on to her brother.

He smiled weakly at her, patting her head. “We will…let me get some rest first. You can tell me all about what you did today.”

Her phone started ringing before Deepali could contemplate why her usually upbeat son was behaving so off and upset.

“Hello?”

Heavy, raspy breathing on the other end.

“Who’s this?”

“Maa….a…”

Her entire being went cold.

“Hee….lp…”

A number of things happened within moments…but that moment seemed to last forever.

The line went dead, and the phone dropped from her hand as the door to Deepak’s room slowly swung shut, even as she leaped to reach her daughter, whose smiling face looking adoringly at her brother as the door shut on her would remain etched in her memory forever.

When she reached the room, which took forever, it was empty, without a trace of her children. Before she could scream out in terror, the phone ran again.

Her nerves on her end, shaking and shivering she cautiously picked up her phone. It flashed her husband’s number. After a long pause she picked it up, not knowing what to expect or if it were really her husband what to tell him.

“H..ha..hello?”

“Ufff…..why do you take so much time picking up your phone Deepa? It could be urgent you know?”

She broke down crying hearing his familiar voice.

“What happened? Why are you crying?”

She couldn’t calm down enough to be able to utter any comprehensible word. Even if she did, she hadn’t any idea at all how to say it.

“Accha baba! Dont worry… I will be back home tomorrow. I might be a bit late though. Actually we had to start late from here. The company ran into some troubles with the locals here. These superstitious people wouldn’t allow us to start the construction because of their old temple being on that plot. It’s already ruined and nobody even worships. But they still won’t let go of it. We had to call the cops and I had to personally remove the idol because even the workers were bloody scared. Stupid superstitious lot. Anyways, stay safe and take care of those annoying brats till I am….OI…WATCH OUT!!…”

Deepalis eyes bulged in horror as she heard the crash, scream and grating sound of metal grinding over broken glass as the line went dead on her for the second time.

A letter to all ‘well meaning’ people who think we don’t need Pride Marches or to talk about homosexuality at all!

​”I am all for LGBT rights but why do you people have to be so loud and flamboyant?”

“I think 377 should be removed but Pride marches should be banned.”

“I understand it’s not a choice but really who cares what you do in bedrooms. Why shout about it on the streets?”

“377 is not even enforced. Just don’t talk about gay sex, no one is checking your bedrooms.”

“People like you are the reason why no one supports LGBT rights. You make everyone uncomfortable with your parades and vulgar talks about sex.”

You know what? Just fuck off. If you think by just saying ‘i don’t mind gay people’ you are being supportive, you are not. You are just saying you are indifferent and it doesn’t matter. Which is fine, which is great, which is quite preferable. But don’t pretend that you care.

Indifference is not the same as actually caring. And when the biggest issue about standing for our cause to you is the ‘inconvenience’ of having to hear us talk about sexuality,watch us openly asking for our rights, see us celebrating our existence and being counted as a part of the society, then fuck you and your ‘pity’.

You don’t get to demand and dictate how we ask for our rights, as if you would have cared or advocated for us if we chose to sit quietly. We are not fighting to convince you anything, we are not asking for your ‘pity’ or ‘sympathy’. We are fighting to be left alone, to have the shackles of regressive laws removed from the private parts of our lives, to reclaim our own space in our society and country.

You don’t have to look at us if you don’t want to, you don’t have to hear us if you don’t want to. You can go on pretending we don’t exist as you have for ages. But don’t dare to ask us to quiet down our voice or tone down our visibility because it makes you ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘inconvenient’.

You know what is uncomfortable and inconvenient? To have to explain and justify your personal lives, your intimate relationships, your sexual choices or lack thereof to each and everyone. To have to lie and hide integral parts of your identity, your personality from your closest friends and family because you could be humiliated, mocked, isolated, locked up, beaten up or even killed. To feel that you owe an explanation to everyone as to why you are the way you are

So if you think your discomfort and inconvenience you feel from us coming out and talking about ourselves and celebrating our existence is excuse enough for us to shut up.

Just fuck off.

Apathy

Again and again and again,

She kept drawing the cards.

But the lots drawn would not change.

She threw the cards in exasperation.

Frustratingly enough, even in accident the cards spread out with the same faces up.

Perhaps some things are just not meant to be?

She mused, defeated and upset.

After all, for her talent as a fortune teller to make sense

Fate would have to be absolute.

If fate could be changed,

her predictions would not matter at all.

Sure, she made bucks selling fake cures and charms,

But her predictions were always accurate and inevitable.

To her, it was neither a blessing or a curse,

For she genuinely did not care about her own fate.

And she never really bothered about the fates of others.

What’s the use? Everything’s decided. Why mourn? Why celebrate? 

Birth, death, relationships, affairs, breakups…

All were but events and occasions that were predestined.

Living was nothing more than an actor going through motions of a rehearsed play,

The story of which they had not control whatsoever.

So why was she feeling upset? Why be sad?

She had known all along, it was just a play,

She just had to act out her role.

She was done, it was time for the exit.

Why then was she wishing she could change the inevitable?

She could hear the door banging.

She heard the door break.

She heard the footsteps approach.

She saw the figure tower over her.

She heard the click of the revolver.

She looked up, and saw,

The ashen face of a grief stricken man.

Whose wife she had promised to save.

She didn’t feel any guilt.

She didn’t feel any fear.

All she felt was a longing,

If only……

She closed her eyes as she heard the clock tick out..

Tick..     tock..

Tick…     tock..

Tick…